Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

JoAnne Epps, Temple's Acting President And Former Provost And Law School Dean, Dies After Collapsing On Stage

Update:, The 'Embodiment of Uplift': Law Deans Pay Tribute to JoAnne Epps (tributes from Deans Danielle Conway (Penn State Dickinson Law), Bill Treanor (Georgetown), Sophia Lee (Penn), Mark Alexander (Villanova), Felecia Epps (North Texas), Anthony Crowell (New York Law School), and Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Boston University), as well as former dean Jim Rosenblatt (Mississippi College)).

New York Times, Temple University’s Acting President Dies After Becoming Ill Onstage:

EppsJoAnne A. Epps, the acting president of Temple University in Philadelphia whose tenure came at a turbulent time for the school, died on Tuesday after becoming ill onstage at a memorial service, the university said.

Ms. Epps, who was appointed in April, was taken to a hospital after becoming ill at the memorial service and was pronounced dead at around 3:15 p.m., the university said in a statement. She was 72.

“There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss,” the university said in a letter that was signed by the chair of the board of trustees, the chief operating officer and the provost. “President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple.” ...

Ms. Epps had a been a member of Temple’s faculty for more than three decades. Before joining Temple, she was an assistant U.S. attorney in Philadelphia and a deputy city attorney in Los Angeles.

Her death rattled a university community that was already facing several challenges. She was appointed after the resignation in March of the previous president, Jason Wingard, whose tenure was plagued by worsening crime around campus, a strike by graduate students and a loss of confidence in his leadership among some faculty members.

After Mr. Wingard’s resignation, Temple appeared eager for steady leadership, and Ms. Epps was seen as a leader who could calm the waters. Her deep ties to Temple reassured many on campus, and when she was appointed, she said in a statement that she would “engage with individuals and groups across the university to reinvigorate a culture of shared governance, listening and learning.”

Ms. Epps, a former executive vice president, provost and law school dean at Temple, was clear that her tenure would be temporary, telling The Inquirer that she would not be a candidate to serve in the position permanently.

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